Spotlight on Economics: Global food security in 2050
Short-term food security depends upon the volatility in food supply stemming mainly from weather conditions, such as drought, flooding and temperatures, during the growing season.
Long-term food security depends upon general trends in food supply and demand caused by arable land, farming technology and alternative uses of agricultural commodities.
According to an econometric estimation, the total calorie consumption in 2050 is projected to be 33 trillion calories, which is based on a projected world population of 9.3 billion. Calorie consumption by region also is estimated by using the same model for each region. The percentage increase in calorie consumption is highest in Asia (103 percent), followed by North America (54 percent) and Latin America (38 percent). The projected percentage increase in calorie consumption in Europe and Oceania is less than 4 percent.
Based on expected changes in arable land and farming technology, the world production of calories is projected to be 31 trillion calories in 2050. However, the calorie production will not be large enough to satisfy the aggregate consumption of calories to lead active and healthy lives (33 trillion calories) in 2050. Furthermore, food shortage estimates are more severe in Africa and Asia than other regions.
In addition, global warming may be a major uncertainty in crop and livestock production. Global warming may affect crop and livestock production negatively and also bring increasing price volatility in agricultural products.
Regional and/or global food shortages can be eliminated or reduced by adopting certain policies:
* Assume that global warming will affect agricultural production negatively, so it is important to develop crop varieties that are adaptable under severe weather conditions. In addition, all nations should develop a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent continuous global warming. This effort should be global rather than regional.
* All countries, especially developed countries, should invest in research and development to improve agricultural productivity and make the technology available to developing and food- deficit countries and regions.
* It is important to develop a global carryover stock policy to reduce uncertainty in agricultural production stemming from the weather.
Source: Won W. Koo, Professor and Center for Agricultural Policy and Trade Studies Director, NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department
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